Just before she goes to Italy for her daughter’s wedding, cancer survivor Ida (Trine Dyrholm) comes home to find her husband having sex with a younger woman, on their couch. In the airport, on the way to Italy, Ida crashes her car into Philip’s (Pierce Brosnan), who just so happens to be the father of the groom. While in Italy, the pair grow ever closer, leaving Ida with some tough decisions to make.
Director Susanne Bier does not have a reputation for looking at the lighter side of life, but then Love Is All You Need is not quite the rom-com that it is made out to be. While the situations may be slightly comic, the film is actually an examination of relationships and how a traumatic event can change us forever.
As Ida, Trine Dyrholm is fantastic; she captures the vulnerability of a woman whose life has been turned upside down, but is not sure whether she wants everything to go back to the way it was or not. Dyrholm balances this with a quiet dignity and a growing sense of joy; she is a delight to watch. Pierce Brosnan is still playing the same character he has been playing for years, but is less ‘Pierce Brosnan-y’ than he has been for a while. There is a genuine chemistry between the two leads that is gentle but engaging.
The rest of the cast range from the boorish to the charming, with everything in between. Kim Bodnia, at times, feels as though he has walked in from another movie, he is so over the top, but there is little doubt that this is the point; to illustrate the fact that Leif has little or no understanding of his wife. Paprika Steen is just the right amount of obnoxious and Molly Blixt Egelind and Sebastian Jessen as the young couple range from warm to cool, but are always endearing.
The story is one that may ring true to many audience members – albeit perhaps without the setting of Southern Italy – and this is what makes the story work. As well as this, many of the characters turn out to be less brave than we would hope, but this means that the story is always believable and relatable.
The film falters slightly in it’s extended running time; even though the time is used well enough, some scenes feel slightly dragged out, and the finale of the film then tumbles together rather too quickly. As well as this, Brosnan feels a little out of place, especially in scenes where he speaks English in answer to statements in Danish. Odd.
In all, however, Susanne Bier has manages to make a warm, entertaining and romantic film that hides a strong message under a superficial layer of comedy. Dyrholm is wonderful in the lead role and while Brosnan is less luminous than his co-star, the chemistry between the pair works well.